Disclaimer: All that I say are just my thoughts and opinions and I am not stating that this is the absolute truth of the game. I may be wrong about some of the things I discuss, but these are simply my observations from playing this game for many years. I also understand that as MapleStory has changed, I have also grown up and developed a different perception of MapleStory and video games in general, which may sway my opinion. Nevertheless, I will try to approach this in such a way that points out the digression from the essence of an MMORPG, rather than a rant about how I miss my childhood.
One of the saddest aspects of the current MapleStory is it's slow descent from multiplayer emphasis to solo gameplay emphasis. This becomes much more apparent when players get to the Arcane River and beyond. When I look at MapleStory's timeline, I can see the slow but sure emphasis towards solo gameplay. They slowly made pq's less rewarding to do, they started to remove them all together, and the few that remain are huddled together into a zoo of party quests. Not only does this make party quests obsolete, it provides almost no incentive for players to travel and explore the Maple World. Hardly anyone besides bots go to Mu Lung, or Herb Town, or Aquarium. When party quests were viable, players would travel and explore which is one of the main things that this game was about. While there are some aspects of multiplayer gameplay such as certain arcane river pq's, end-game bosses, or guild capping, the main aspect of progression in this game, leveling up, is solo.
Now I can't say that this is some new development. I do remember people grinding back before Big Bang and asking people to cc from their map, etc. However, back then, players had an option. They had the option to participate in party quests, and multiplayer content in order to level up, or the few that were strong enough and dedicated enough could choose to grind to level up. Now, most players are almost forced to grind mainly by themselves in order to progress through this game. I say mainly because some players might be in a guild and have people kishin for them etc. The most interaction that players have when trying to level up in MapleStory today, is buying firestarter, kishin, or frenzy service. Once in a while, they will go to catch an MVP buff but that only lasts for a few minutes and players just go right back to the grinding in SoloStory. (Game might as well be called AutoBiography).
Today, party quests and multiplayer content is like an empty wasteland. The very few that do participate in party quests are usually higher level players that are in guilds and are already decently/somewhat established in the game. Even if a newer player wanted to do the party quests, they need to find other players willing to participate. This is a challenge for those newer players. Furthermore, if a player were to rely on party quests for progression, they would be at a huge disadvantage to those that grind by themselves, ultimately alienating them from the fast-paced MapleStory of today. This makes party quests obsolete in terms of progression.
While this is another topic altogether, I will briefly touch upon this topic. It is an extremely daunting task for a brand new player to start off in this game with the goal of progressing towards later/end game. There are just an insane amount of things that a player must consider such as Legion, Link Skills, Gear, Skills, Hyper Skill Passives, Hyper Stats, Nodes, etc. I believe that having the multiplayer progression that we once had would make this a much less daunting task as well as an enjoyable one.
One of the best things that Nexon did, was extend the multiplayer progression to higher levels, with Lion Heart Castle's party play maps. This continued to give the higher level players the option of either participating in multiplayer gameplay progression or once again, if they were strong enough and determined enough, to solo grind. However, once again, this content was removed and driven into the ground. The last sliver of hope that I have for this game is guilds, which provides that sense of community and multiplayer aspect to an extent.
In my eyes, if the current MapleStory were to be given a turn around towards the multiplayer progression that we once had, it would not only make the game more enjoyable, but also more beginner friendly, as well as giving it the soul that this game once had. If party quests were revamped and released from that cross-world prison, it would give players reasons to go out to different areas of Maple World rather than to just stick to a "MapleStory vXX.XX Lvl. 1-250 Training Guide". This game has many beautiful maps and amazing soundtracks and a lot of it is going to waste, just being a haven for botters. Furthermore, it would provide a stronger sense of community.
Introducing party play maps to the higher level content would be amazing. It would give incentive for even the higher end game players, who aim to solo difficult bosses, to interact and engage with others while training and progressing in the game. Anyone towards the higher levels knows how much of a grueling and treacherous journey it is to level up even once. This would give back a little bit of sanity, cough cough, while training and grinding during end game levels.
If you've made it to the end of this, thank you for your time, as I know it was quite a beefy post.